Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday Heroes

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This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Echo9er

Hospitalman Luis E. Fonseca Jr.
Hospitalman Luis E. Fonseca Jr.

On August 11, 2004, Navel Hospitalman Luis E. Fonseca, Jr. was awarded the Navy's second highest decoration. The Navel Cross, which is awarded for extraordinary heroism while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States and must be performed in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk, was awarded for his actions while serving with Amphibious Assault Vehicle Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, Task Force Tarawa, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

On March 23, 2004, Fonseca, Jr.'s unit were trying to take the Saddam Canal Bridge. Five Marines were injured when their vehicle was hit by an RPG. Fonseca, while still being fired upon by machine guns and RPG's, pulled the Marines to safety and established a casualty collection unit inside his own medical evacuation vehicle. After his vehicle was hit once again, Fonseca organized litter teams and directed the movement of four of the Marines, while personally carrying one wounded Marine over open ground to another vehicle. On November 15, 2004, Seaman Fonseca was awarded the "Grateful Nation Award" from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs for his actions.

"I was doing my job," said Fonseca. "I wish I could have done more."

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Jonathan A. Zapien

It is sometimes forgotten that the expression “brother-at-arms” is one that transcends national boundaries; that worthy causes of great consequence inevitably bridge cultural divides. For no one is that more true than for soldiers fighting through life and death situations on a daily basis. For Staff Sgt. Zapien, his dedication to his German brothers-at-arms earned him Germany’s Ehrenmedaille, or “honor medal,” the highest award the German army can give to a foreign soldier. The Ehrendmedaille was presented by the German minister of defense and marked the first time German Special Forces has given an award to a foreign soldier.

Zapien, a member of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group, was attached to the German Special Forces Command operating in Afghanistan from June to October 2005. While there, he acted as a liaison between the German unit and other Coalition forces in the region – and he filled many other roles for the unit, whether during regular patrols or while directing air, medical, and communications support during combat operations.

Oftentimes, the unit was called upon to conduct sensitive and dangerous missions; however, the team also took part in country-building operations, such as providing security during Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections. During one incident, the team was out on a combat reconnaissance mission in eastern Afghanistan when they were hit with an IED attack, severely injuring one of the German soldiers. Zapien quickly called in air and ground medical support, which saved the German soldier’s life. One German general said that Zapien played a critical role on a decisive team, “display[ing] exemplary dedication and an exceptional sense of duty.” The general added that he is “a sensational warrior with a very soldier-like attitude.”

For his support and actions, the German Special Forces Command presented Zapien the Ehrenmedaille on Sept. 12, 2006. Army story; Stars and Stripes story.

Unsung Heroes: Mechanics Repair, Replace and Invent

It is these creations, born from humble beginnings, which have earned the shop a reputation that draws in customers from as far south as Baghdad.

The crew has designed a guard shelter for the Air Force out of a connex featuring ballistic armor and windows, gates that can be hit with forklifts and still operate, ballistic windows for gun turrets, and a multitude of other projects.

One project currently under way is a ramp with walls and jumps that will be used by the military police to train their K9 working dogs.

“There’s really no other shop in the area that can do what this one can do,” Barnett said. “When the machinists and welders get together and do a job, you’re not going to see any other shop put out that kind of product. It could be something small, but the level of complexity to it is something that you’re only going to get here.

All of this is designed to help soldiers in the field and, ultimately, saves lives.

They Also Serve: Army Wives Find Ways to Cope with Deployments

Heroes at Home

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Almost 100 people, labeled as Heroes at Home, were honored here April 19 during a U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's volunteer recognition ceremony.

The volunteers received awards in front of a crowd of more than 300 members of the Kaiserslautern military community.

"It's a way for the garrison to say thank you, not only to the award recipients but also to the almost 1,300 KMC members who are registered with our volunteer program," said Angela Bellamy, the garrison's Army Volunteer Corps coordinator.

Don't forget about "Talking With Heroes" May 4th where Soldiers' Angels and many military families, members and supporters will be talking about the great things that our military is doing and how to support them.

- May no soldier go unloved